SUEZ, Mars, Nestlé, Taylors of Harrogate and Ella’s Kitchen have called for flexible packaging to be collected as a core material from 2023.
An estimated 215 billion items of flexible plastic packaging are placed on the market this year, according to these companies that make up the Flexible Packaging Consortium.
These include confectionary wrappers, pet and baby food pouches, bread bags, and crisp packets. Nearly all of this is sent to landfill or energy from waste.
Currently, less than 20% of local authorities collect any form of plastic film or other flexible packaging for recycling.
A report launched by the Flexible Packaging Consortium shows how much of this material is placed on the market, how the current collection system works and end-of-life recycling solutions for this type of packaging.
Modelling in the report shows that introducing a deposit return scheme in 2023 would free up space in collection trucks as some materials are moved away from kerbside collections.
SUEZ recycling and recovery UK technical development director and report author Stuart Hayward-Higham said: “This report summarises many months of research and collaboration across the value chain to understand issues and demonstrates a real potential to move more plastic packaging into the recycling bin.
“Collecting flexible plastic packaging and films from homes and businesses would help improve recycling rates and create a more circular system for flexible plastic packaging, so we are encouraged both by the findings and by the effective partnership working that made it possible to complete the research.”
Nestlé UK and Ireland chief executive Stefano Agostini added: “We know there is power in working together across businesses and industry, and by joining forces we can have more influence in making sure our packaging can be recycled.
“We cannot solve this problem alone and I am proud to be working in the Consortium to tackle this collective issue which has such a huge impact on our planet.”